Taliban Reverses Pledge and Keeps Girls’ Schools Closed: ‘Why Are They Playing With Our Future?’

Despite much anticipation, the Taliban regime announced today that girls’ schools from grades 7-12 will remain closed. Devastated teachers and students did not know about the announcement until they arrived at their schools had to return home.

In speaking with the BBC, one in Kabul student said, “I feel really hopeless for my future. I don’t see a bright future for myself. All we want is to go to school.”

Stop Betraying the Women of Afghanistan

Regardless of whether President Biden inherited the mess in Afghanistan or perpetuated it himself is secondary to what choices the United States will make to fix the situation we are in now. It is past time for the U.S. to live up to the commitments it has made to Afghan women and girls—the U.S. has the power to ensure that Afghan women are equal partners in retaining their rights and lifting their own country from crisis. The U.S. must include Afghan women leaders in decisions about peace, security and humanitarian aid. And the U.S. must not take Afghan assets out of the pockets of private citizens who desperately need those funds to survive and restore their lives. 

As Mary Akrami, an Afghan women’s rights activist noted, “We Afghan women will not allow anyone [to] play with Afghanistan anymore. … Enough is enough for us.”  

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Women Are Suffering Needlessly This Winter

In Afghanistan, most secondary schools remain closed to girls, and women high school teachers who have not been paid for the last seven months have resorted to begging in the streets to feed their families.

The events in Afghanistan since August prove yet again that in times of crisis, the rights of women are demoted, devalued and expendable. They also show the propensity with which the U.N. and its member states sometimes accept as a fait accompli the cultural norms that place girls and women at risk of the worst physical harm; are denied access to their most basic human rights; and support their unquestioned subordination.

Filmmaker Elizabeth Mirzaei on Telling the Stories of Afghan People and Fighting “Afghanistan Fatigue”

Elizabeth Mirzaei’s recent short film Three Songs for Benazir, has been shortlisted for an Oscar and was recently acquired by Netflix for distribution. The story about Shaista and his wife Benazir, who live in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul, presents Afghanistan in a light not commonly depicted—one that reveals stark realities through the more quiet moments of one couple.

Keeping Score: NYC’s First Women-Majority Council Takes Office; Only 55% of Non-Parents Want Kids Someday; D.C. Students Get Free Period Products

This week: Nebraskans face one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation; New York City’s first women-majority city council takes office; Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers sentenced to life in prison; D.C. Council approved free menstrual products in all schools; the gender gap in higher education widens; and more.